The Ultimate Con
Satan thinks he has everything figured out, and he plans to deceive the whole world with his unholy trinity.
If you had visited “Dr.” Malachi Love-Robinson in his medical offices in Florida a few years ago, you would have met a nice-looking young man sporting a white lab coat, stethoscope draped around his neck, who would have examined you with apparent concern for your health. However, things aren’t always as they seem.
If you want to see Love-Robinson today, you’d have to visit him in prison where he is serving time for fraud and practicing medicine without a license, a con the now 21-year-old began when he was only 17. He also has to repay $80,000 that he biled from his “patients,” according to Florida’s Sun-Sentinel.
Unfortunately, the world is littered with con artists and so-called snake-oil salesmen who make it their life’s work to masquerade as something they are not. But none of them can equal the greatest con artist of all time, Satan, whom Jesus calls “a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44). Satan’s biggest con is yet to come and will be unleashed on unsuspecting humanity in the person of the Antichrist.
After God raptures His church, not a single believer will exist anywhere on Earth. All true followers of Jesus Christ will have been transported to heaven to be with the Lord (1 Th. 4:15–17), making the entire planet fertile territory for the father of lies—at least for a while—until some people recognize the truth and trust Christ as their Savior.
Satan’s vehicle for achieving world domination will be the Antichrist—the “man of sin” and “son of perdition”—descriptions that characterize his embodiment of damnation, eternal punishment, and utter destruction (2 Th. 2:3). Antichrist’s first deception will be to broker a major peace treaty or initiative: “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week [seven years]” (Dan. 9:27). The accord with “many” presumably will involve Israel.
This man will seem like a great leader, someone who can help solve all the woes plaguing the post-Rapture world, and people will receive him with open arms. In actuality, however, he could not care less about peace or humanity. He will be evil, ruthless, and utterly self-centered; and his ultimate objectives will be to rule the world and be worshiped as God.
Unfortunately, he will fool billions. He will use “power, signs, and lying wonders” that he’ll accomplish “according to the working of Satan” (2 Th. 2:9). To make matters worse, God will send people a “strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (v. 11).
Ever willing to believe a lie, however, the masses will flock to him and view him as a savior; and he will con them all: “All the world marveled and followed the beast [Antichrist]. So they worshiped the dragon [Satan] who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast” (Rev. 13:3–4). The scope and authority of the Antichrist’s reign will cover “every tribe, tongue, and nation,” including the Jewish nation (v. 7).
The Jewish people, in fact, will be the most vulnerable to the Antichrist’s promises because, throughout their history, they have wanted little more than to live in peace—and peace is exactly what he will offer them.
To encourage them to trust him, he may use the outcome of the battle of Gog and Magog. The prophet Ezekiel foretold of a future attack from Gog of the land of Magog that probably will take place early in the post-Rapture era. Gog and its allies “will go up against a land of unwalled villages . . . to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates . . . against a people gathered from the nations . . . who dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezek. 38:11–12).
God speaks of Israel as being “gathered” from the nations: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, . . . then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob” (28:25). So Israel is probably the victim.
Gog will attack while the nation enjoys something it has longed for: safety, without the necessity of walls, bars, or gates. In other words, Israel will have let down its defenses.
God will stem the invasion, but it seems the Antichrist will claim the credit. He will appear to bring peace and seduce the Jewish people into placing their confidence in him. However, then he will demand they worship him as God. He will oppose and exalt himself “above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2:4).
His Pseudo Resurrection
Satan will also deceive the Gentile nations. His pseudo messiah will somehow suffer a mortal wound but will appear to be astonishingly resurrected from the dead, “and all the world marveled and followed the beast” (Rev. 13:3). In his obsession to be like God, Satan will construct a fake, unholy trinity: he will play the part of the father, with Antichrist as the son and the False Prophet as the spirit.
The Antichrist will rule for seven years—a period the Hebrew Scriptures call “the time of Jacob’s trouble” and the New Testament calls the Tribulation (Jer. 30:7; Mt. 24). At the midpoint, Satan is cast to Earth “as a profane thing” (Ezek. 28:16), and everything on Earth deteriorates further. It appears Satan will enter the mortally wounded Antichrist and indwell him, deluding the vast majority of surviving humanity into thinking their world ruler actually came back to life—an attempt to emulate Jesus’ resurrection.
This con will continue as Satan installs and controls yet “another beast” (Rev. 13:11), the False Prophet, who will exercise great power and authority and try to force everyone to worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. Through Satan’s power, he will perform miracles and direct people to construct an image of their ruler (v. 14), which he somehow will animate, “that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (v. 15).
Then the False Prophet is directed by Satan to seal “both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. . . . His number is 666” (vv. 16–18).
Today people speculate the mark could involve smart-chip technology. The number seven is almost always associated with God, and the number six is traditionally associated with man—close to seven, but neither perfect nor complete.
Satan employs all of this trickery in hopes of realizing his greatest ambition: to be God. He wants the glory that belongs to the Most High, and he wants the Kingdom: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13–14).
But he will not. He will be brought down “to the lowest depths of the Pit” and eventually be cast into the Lake of Fire forever (v. 15; Rev. 20:10). And so will end the story of Satan and his evil quest to rule the world through the Antichrist.